Forum, Sept. 4: After the Storm: Tears, Frustration

Sunday, September 03, 2017
After the Storm: Tears, Frustration

Watching the TV news coverage of the response to Hurricane Harvey has moved me quite literally to tears. The reflexive generosity and energy of the spontaneous and immediate volunteer response to the massive needs in the wake of the storm show in spades what it means to be an American. It is both inspiring and humbling. I feel a sense of pride at the idea of calling myself a fellow citizen and hope that I would rise to the call as selflessly if it came to that.  

I am left asking myself: When will we demand a government as good as we Americans are? When will we insist that our government get down to the business of repairing our country’s foundation and building its future?  Like a flood victim, I feel submerged up to my eyeballs in the refusal of our government to set aside its Kabuki theater foolishness and apply our collective resources to the clear needs of our country. We have leaky levees, figuratively speaking, and a long time before the sun burns out. The water, literally speaking, is rising.  

How long do we hope to be around? 

Dodd Stacy


A Better Use for The Money

Why don’t we use the billions of dollars earmarked for the “wall” to keep people out, to instead take care of our citizens in Texas and Louisiana who are suffering so much, and to rebuild the cities and towns of Texas and Louisiana (and wherever the storms may go).

Alison Gravel


Good Websites for Donors

Regarding recent charity news: Here are two useful websites for evaluating them — charitywatch.org and even better, charitynavigator.org.

Martin Lubin


Conserve Land for the Future

So Donald Trump wants to cut the size of some national monuments. Why should we in New England be bothered? That’s only an issue out West, isn’t it? Wrong! Here’s why you should care:

Federal public lands belong to you and me as much as to Utahns or Idahoans. We’ve all got an equal stake in their future.

If you’ve been to Escalante-Grand Staircase or Bears Ears, as I have, you know these are wondrous and sublime environs. Some Native groups call them sacred, and that’s not too strong a word for how you’ll feel out there.

As Teddy Roosevelt deeply believed, public lands are the “great equalizer” of our nation — the only places rich and poor can walk tall together.  With mushrooming wealth disparity threatening our democracy, now is not the time to reduce equality even more by giving lands we all own away for private exploitation.

But most fundamentally, America’s system of local, state and federal parks, monuments, forests, wildernesses and refuges constitutes one vast covenant of conservation we’ve made with unborn generations to come. That covenant’s keystone is the notion of in-perpetuity permanence.  If protections are no longer understood as permanent, the whole covenant collapses. Every acre becomes perpetually negotiable (“Sure, I’ll vote to raise the debt ceiling if you vote to strip-mine Yellowstone.”) It could even be a first step toward “originalist” judges undermining the legality of the conservation easements our region relies on.

Ken Burns calls the national park system “America’s Best Idea.”  Most parks began as monuments, and a threat to one is a threat to all. This nation’s “best idea” is about to have the conceptual rug pulled from under it. If you care at all about conservation, this is a line in the sand moment.  Please be heard.

Bernie Waugh